A mother has shared a distressing video of her newborn daughter struggling to breathe in an effort to raise awareness about vaccinations and whooping cough.
Sandra Tanrikulu, from Sydney, posted the footage on Facebook, which shows five-week-old Heidi gasping for air.
Heidi was only 10-days-old when her brother’s day care called to warn the family that their son could potentially have whooping cough.
“They called us and said there was a boy in his class that’s been diagnosed with whooping cough and he plays with your son,” said Ms Tanrikulu.
Three-year-old Lincoln had a little cough for a couple of days – only at night – but his mother got him checked out by the doctor “just in case”. The child at daycare had apparently had a mild cough as well.
The Sydney parents took their son to the doctor and pushed for a test that proved Lincoln had whooping cough.
“We all went on antibiotics, cleaned the house and tried to keep [the children] separate – which is hard because you’ve got a new baby that you’re trying to get your toddler to bond with and get excited about.
“We were constantly saying – ‘leave your sister alone, don’t go near her, don’t cough near her, stay away’ – so it’s really hard.”
Lincoln’s cough “didn’t seem like anything bad” and he wanted to cuddle his new sister.
A week later, Heidi had a cough and her parents thought it might be silent reflux because it happened every time she had a feed.
“She was four-weeks-old and if she coughed for a bit, that’d be fine, but sometimes it’d go on to the point that we’d have to pick her up and have to hit her on her back a little bit – because she was sort-of choking coughing.”
"Please don't ignore the warning signs- our baby girl only had a slight cough to start." Image supplied.
Heidi's cough "wasn't that bad" but her mother was concerned enough to take her to the doctor. They were sent home.
"The next day she started coughing again but this time she went completely blue and stopped breathing," said Ms Tanrikulu.
"My husband's a fireman and he threw me out of the way, grabbed her and put her on the floor and went to start CPR. He put a breath little breath into her, but it was enough to start her breathing."
Heidi got worse over the next few days and started having "apneas" - where she would make a tiny noise and stop breathing and then turned red, then blue.
"The first time it happened nurses and doctors rushed in and at first oxygen couldn't get her going, so they all got a bit panicky and got a crash-cart ready to start working on her.
"As a result we couldn't sleep, as we spent every minute watching her to make sure we didn't miss a silent episode. We have been taking turns sleeping and watching her."
Heidi is doing well today, but the silent episodes are still happening at night.
NSW Health states "Whooping cough is spread easily by coughing, and babies are at risk of severe illness if infected. Older children and adults can often get whooping cough too and they can pass the infection on to babies."
They advise to get vaccinated in the third trimester of each pregnancy and vaccinate your baby on time.
"Your baby will have the best protection after they have received all 3 doses - please see immunisation for further details."